Microneedling: Beware, It Can Seriously Mess With Your Skin

Dangers of Dermarollers: Microneedling Beware

Microneedling punctures your skin and undermines the protective barrier, causing sudden changes in the structure of your skin that it then has to repair.


Lately, it seems that everyone is turning to microneedling, and who can blame them? Just look online, and it is apparently the answer to all of your skin related woes – and the hottest trend in beauty right now.

Scare-mongering is not what this article is about – nor my philosophy, but as with all things in life, there are risks associated with this treatment.

I have been inundated with emails from readers which you can read below, and many clients have been referred to me, who have been both physically and psychologically scarred as a result of this treatment, so I really wanted to address this treatment, for those who are considering it.

The Misconceptions

They Say: Microneedling is a collagen-stimulating treatment that uses needles to injure the skin; this stimulates collagen and elastin production, resulting in improved skin texture, pores, fine lines, and more.

Naked Chemist Truth: Microneedling tears through the epidermis – the top layer of the skin – creating tiny puncture marks which play havoc with your skin’s natural defence mechanisms, which have to work hard to repair these tiny micro-tears through collagen induction. This causes a whole host of skin conditions.
It does not tighten your skin; it swells your skin: You must understand the concept, ‘needling promotes skin collagen’. Because you’re temporarily injuring your skin, the tightening effect is plump, swollen skin.
It does not create a glowing complexion: That ‘lit-from-within’ glow is a result of the inflammation it triggers, and as I believe inflammation is at the source of  premature ageing, it is a big no-no in my book.

This is a serious procedure

At any depth, even a 0.2mm puncture can cause inflammatory responses that lead to problems. Not only that, but you are effectively injecting active serums at a depth where serums are not meant to go! Not everyone should needle, as you can cause irreparable harm.

Bottom line: If your skin is impaired, it requires a super-healthy skin response, and if your skin is stressed at all, you are almost certainly at risk of damage.


Clemmy from London wrote: “The microneedling felt like it shredded my skin beneath the surface, my once perfect skin is ruined and I feel like I could cry, it has lost all firmness and support. I know it has been structurally damaged. I’ve had such a bad reaction it flared up. It was awful. I looked grazed all over I didn’t want to leave the house for ages after 6 months it is only just recovering.”

Nancy from Australia wrote: “The next photo is the day of the microneedling, you can see my face is very swollen and I have scratch like marks on my face, I was shaking during the procedure, I should have known something was wrong then. I was told to do a course of peels to get rid of the lines and this sent my skin into inflammation mode. Today my skin has tiny holes and lines in it. With your help it has been slowly repairing, but it has been a long road.”

Quick side note: For this reason, I recommend avoiding peels, lasers, or active topicals to try to reverse the damage done. Instead, work to rebuild the barrier and balance the delicate micro-flora with skin-identical ingredients that are missing, bringing your skins pH back into balance holistically, which equates to healthy skin.

Angela, a client, experienced the following: “I am 43 and had one session of microneedling. My face became inflamed and I have been battling severe facial burning ever since. My previously smooth skin is scarred all over with lines, huge pores and a strange texture. I have been to a few dermatologists who have no idea what to do, it severely damaged my lipid barrier. Your advice and skincare especially Fortify barrier repair cream, is helping to rebuild my barrier I can’t thank you enough.”

Marian from the USA wrote: “Micro rolling seriously destroyed my skin. It left bumps and holes and requires total resurfacing, which I am scared to have. It has dried out my skin and given me lines I did not previously have, on top of the bumps and holes. In short, microneedling is UNSAFE.”

Jen from Australia wrote: “After having numerous tests (had to go back to the hospital a second time because they didn’t take enough blood the first time) the blood test results were normal so no autoimmune disorders which is good. I have had 25 pages of blood test results as my dermatologist was very thorough and he has figured out what the microneedling has done to my skin. He believes I have solid facial edema, very rare. I’m now on roaccutane & may need to be on it for 1-2 years, although my skin is responding this will be a very long battle to get rid of this. I’m completely shattered. I would NEVER recommend microneedling to anyone, in fact I warn all my friends about it so they never suffer the way I am suffering. Your Bio lipid has been a life saver I refer to it as liquid gold.”

For those of you who commented, thank you for sharing and I really hope together we can rebuild the health of your skin through a well thought-out skincare and supplementation regime. Hopefully, this article will also help others who are contemplating this procedure.

If you are unfortunate enough to have suffered a serious reaction, let’s take a look at the problems that can go wrong and why. That way, you will be able to connect the dots about what you can do to repair your skin.

Do not treat your skin with microneedling if you have the following, ever!

  • Sunburn
  • Diabetes
  • Active acne
  • Keloid scarring
  • A cigarette smoker
  • Prior Roaccutane user
  • Signs of active infection
  • Sensitive or impaired skin
  • Eczema or dermatitis sufferers
  • Very dark or unstable skin type
  • You are a 1, 2, or 3 on the Fitzpatrick scale
  • Autoimmune problems of the skin, such as Lupus
  • If you have had a topical treatment (such as peels or laser) in the last 12 weeks

In a nutshell, anything that will affect your skin’s natural healing ability.

You should absolutely NEVER have this treatment on skin that has breakouts or is irritated or inflamed, or has active acne or eczema.

Why? You could spread bacteria around your face and increase your risk of serious infection. In fact, if you have active acne or cystic acne, I don’t recommend microneedling until your acne is 100% clear. Even if you have a pimple, be sure to avoid that area completely.

If you have sensitive skin that can become red or flushed, if you suffer from rosacea, or if your skin doesn’t tolerate products well, then you need to be very careful. This treatment causes inflammation on the skin, disrupting the protective barrier and increasing penetration of active ingredients. I appreciate this may sound counter-intuitive, because microneedling is all about better product penetration, but when active ingredients go deeper into skin, the risk of irritation goes up. If, after reading this, you still want to experiment with microneedling, you should carry out a patch test (discussed in my article, “Microneedling Treatment”)

Side Effects, Contraindications, and Complications

Whilst there are many general side effects of microneedling – including bleeding, slight bruising, redness, dryness, and skin flakiness – some may experience more severe side effects:

  • Infection
  • Swollen face
  • Impaired barrier
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Permanent scarring
  • Indentations in the skin
  • Sensitivity to topical products
  • Rashes, inflammation, or hives
  • Skin that becomes dry, tight, or inelastic
  • Hyper and Hypo-pigmentary changes in the skin

Infection: It doesn’t always look the way you think, such as with swelling, pus, and redness. Some infections can appear a lot more subtle, where the skin just stays irritated and doesn’t heal. What is happening here is that your body’s immune system is holding the offending bacteria, fungus, or virus in partial check, but isn’t strong enough to eliminate it.
Allergic or irritant reactions: These can range from barely visible to extreme ongoing pain and itching. This is not normal; pain associated with this treatment should be temporary and last no longer than a day.
Redness and texture changes: These changes are common, as treatment pumps the skin, increasing blood flow and collagen, but should reduce in a few days.

Treatment for impaired skin

A big question I’m often asked is, will my skin ever return to normal? You can heal your skin once it has been damaged by microneedling, but how long it takes depends on the amount of damage done. From experience in my own clinic, some people may heal in between 6 to 12 weeks in line with cellular turnover. Sadly, for others, it can take a couple of years – but with the correct treatment protocol and effective ingredients, it is achievable.

You require a three-pronged, holistic approach.
Employ a consistent skin care regime with gentle topicals that are barrier repairing – nothing too active, as that will inflame the skin further.

Use topical actives such as H2O Hydrating Complex combined with Urea to help re-hydrate the skin’s tissues. A low-strength Vitamin C will help to rebuild collagen and elastin naturally. DNA contains copper peptides that help to rebuild fragile skin. Bio-lipid and Fortify are specifically designed to rebuild the barrier function and replenish skin-identical ingredients that are missing as a result of harsh treatments.

Your skin is the largest organ of the body, so make sure you’re feeding it repairing foods, including vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, B complexes, Zinc, and essential fatty acids.

Treatment for complications after microneedling

  • Keep copies of records and take before and after photos
  • Where a risk of infection may be present, ask for a bacterial culture or swab to be done on your skin
  • A small biopsy can be carried out for “tissue culture” to look for deeper or unusual bacteria or other organisms
  • If there is any question of skin allergy, especially if a lot of chemicals were microneedled into the skin, an allergist may be able to help
  • If you’re concerned about an infectious disease, or difficult or unusual infections in the skin, consult a doctor
  • If you have any hormonal or other issues affecting your healing, an endocrinologist may help

The Naked Truth

The bottom line. Be careful with how you treat your skin; you have a responsibility to take care of your primary organ that protects you every second of your life.

If all of this does sound alarming, but you still want to treat your skin with microneedling, below is my checklist on things you should consider before undergoing microneedling:

  • Know your skin type and where on the Fitzgerald scale it fits into
  • Do your research, and ensure your therapist has many years of experience and understands microneedling at a technical level
  • Do consider the type of machine used, there are less complaints from those who have been treated with a derma pen
  • Do listen to your skin! We are all metabolically different. If you feel your skin is compromised, don’t embark on any invasive treatment, not just microneedling
  • Ensure you get a thorough consultation, and that they discuss the post-treatment protocol with you.
  • Do make sure you take close-up photos of your skin beforehand; if the therapist involved decides to try and deny responsibility, you will have proof
  • Do be consistent with treatments and use quality serums and vitamins, both internally and externally, to repair and protect your skin – but nothing too active
  • Don’t use a combination of treatments coupled with an energy-based device, as there is also the risk of burns to consider
  • Your therapist must be really well trained on their device so they really understand how they behave. I’ve seen patients over the years who’ve sustained iatrogenic injuries which have resulted in scarring after devices have been dragged across the skin



128 thoughts on “Microneedling: Beware, It Can Seriously Mess With Your Skin

  1. Catherine says:

    Hi there,
    I had a microneedling done anout 4 weeks now my face is left with scars all over, specially under my eyes and on my cheeks. The texture is horrible i don’t know what to do anymore. I just want to cry every time I look at myself in the mirror because my skin wasn’t like that before. It has a little improved since the 2 last weeks but nothing close to before. I have been using hylauronic acid serum and a moisturizer. My skin looks dry from inside I drink 2 L. Of water every day. I need help I feel this will never get better.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Catherine I’m so sorry to hear about your skin, but please note depending on the depth of the needle used, it can be invasive, so your skin is still in recovery mode. What weight hyaluronic acid is in the formula? This is important and are there any other harmful ingredients? And this is only part of the skin care routine you should be using. Sadly drinking lots of water is never going to help, simply because whilst your skin is the larger organ, it is the last one to receive hydration from water, it is taken up by all the other organs as well.

      • Catherine says:

        Thank you for taking the time to reply!
        I use hyalu B5 serum from la Roche Posay
        It says hyalutonic acid, vitamin B5 and madecassoside mostly. I shouldn’t be using any moisturizer if I understand properly?

        • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

          Hi Catherine You might want to try to find out what molecular weight they use..keep an eye out for my next two articles on micro needling. Yes moisturiser will lock humectants against the skin, otherwise they get taken up by the air. Samantha

          • Catherine says:

            Ok, I couldn’t find the molecular weight, if I order your products which one would you recommend using and until when?
            Thank you

          • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

            Hi Catherine I would write to them and ask, don’t tell them why just ask whether it is LMW or HMW (high molecular weight) hyaluronic acid. I recommend H20 pure hyaluronic shot, Bio lipid/ Fortify and/or Cermide repair balm to replenish, missing ingredient, calm, sooth and repair DNA redensifies the skin, begins to thicken it – please avoid all actives especially vitamin C.

          • Laura Soo says:

            Hi Samantha, I too am a microneedling ‘victim’! Oh how I wish I’d found your articles first. Just wanted to clarify…Are you saying yes to using moisturizer after HA serum, or no? What harm can it do? Also .how long to you recommend using HA serum only for….before moving into your other suggestions? Thanks so much!

          • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

            Hi Laura. During the treatment and then during initial healing of say 3 to 7 days I would only use a waterbed serum. then you can begin to upgrade your routine once the skin appears to be healing. Samantha

  2. Cyndi L says:

    Hi, I’m the latest cautionary tale regarding micro-needling.
    My skin is not happy. I had the procedure done 5 days ago and I am peeling and spots on my face are very red and irritated. My wrinkles and creases seem worse! I have had this done before by the same doctor with a pen and it was easy and fine this time she went deeper with a new machine and I can tell this is not normal. I read your article and want to purchase the recommended products but would like to know in what order to use them? Hoping they will help repair my dry, irritated skin. Please advise.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Cyndi. If it was only 5 days ago, then you need to work fast to repair the damage done..read my new article just released and I am about to release another article in a few weeks regarding products to use especially after the treatment. Initially only use hnly high molecular weight hyaluronic products..I recommend my skin shot H20, then begin to introduce very gentle non irritating products, that contain skin identical ingredients to repair the barrier and replenish what is missing.Fortify, Ceramide balm, Quench and Bio lipid. DNA will help to thicken and redensify the skin. Please use absolutely no actives including Vitamin C and A and no peels or laser! Once repaired then you can think about actives to retextures the skin, but nothing yet especially not Vitamin C! Because of many of the ingredients within a vitamin C formula can cause granulosum infections on those who have had micro needling. I hope this answers your questions Samantha

  3. Alexandra says:

    Had Microneedling with prp a little over a week ago. I could not leave the house for a eeek after! I had some pigment, but do I have it more now! And. The texture of my skin is completely changed. It folds and creates lines even on my forehead. It feels like it has lost padding. My provider treated my lower and upper lids. She bruised me and now my undereys have darker circles, almost black and marks from the needle, my upper lids are shredded, they are lines and creepy and more hooded. My temples look like when you out a egg white mask on and it dries, with crustlike texture and a ton of thin lines. My cheeks are wrinkled as well as my chin and lines above my lips, smoker lines. They keep telling me it’s still healing, I really tot has been messed up. I’m 43, can I still repair my previously juicy skin?

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Alexandra. How scary what a catalogue of serious conditions that have arisen as a result of this treatment. Something it seems has happened in the industry – with the surge of increases in the use of this treatment, there is a massive influx of people reaching out with concerns similar to yours. It is very difficult to diagnose without seeing your skin, but if this all carries on I recommend insisting on a biopsy as you may have a granuloum infection…please read my new article released yesterday. In the meantime as per my message to Cindy, if it was only a week ago then you need to work fast to repair the damage done. It is advisable to use only high molecular weight hyaluronic.. so purchase H20. Then introduce very gentle non irritating products, that contain skin identical ingredients to repair the barrier….Fortify, Ceramide balm, Quench and Bio lipid. DNA will help to redensify the skin. Please use absolutely no actives like Vitamin C and A. Once repaired then you can think about vitamin A and other peptides to retexturise the skin, but nothing yet especially not Vitamin C!


    Mu skin messed up one mont ago , I have lots of scars on my nose,
    so sorry I didn’t read this article before

  5. Candice Nell says:

    Thank you for this article.
    I have beautiful, clear skin, and I use expensive products and serums. I read that they can be even more effectively absorbed using a 0.1-0.3 needle. I did some research and found your article.
    Thank you for stopping me from almost making a huge mistake and destroying my almost perfect skin.
    I definitely will not be doing microneedling.
    Thank you for making me appreciate what I have.

      • Leona says:

        Hi there,
        I had microneedling done a month ago and my naturally pale skin continues to feel tight and irritated. My skin tone has a pinkish colour and I am starting to fear it will never return back to my pale skin tone. I highly regret having this done and wish I found your article sooner. Is there hope that I can restore my skin tone ?

  6. Jenna says:

    I really like microneedling my skin and I get good results doing it at home mildly every couples weeks or so. It is scientifically proven to rebuild and strengthen the collagen layer in the epidermis. I do not have any regrets.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Jenna thank you for your feedback and at home treatments are less aggressive because of the depth of the needle, long term we are still not sure what the outcomes are – which I discuss in my new article what is micro needling.

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